Johnny’s List of Quirky Boston Events: 06/16/08


Here’s the weird this week.

Alert! I have 33 free passes (for you and a guest) to an opening showing of the Love Guru. It’s the new movie comedy with Mike Myers, the guy from Austin Powers. The film opens June 20th and the preview tickets are for tomorrow, Tuesday June 17 at 7pm. Email for info. Will Mike be there? Who knows. He can’t be everywhere. My best guess: no.

However! Steve Carell will be hosting a special screening of his new film “Get Smart” on June 19. Unfortunately this is a fundraiser, which means it’s expensive. It’s for the Jimmy Fund, which is against kids’ cancer. CitiWang Center. Boston, MA. 617-332-0728. $100.

The weird event of the week is the Hands-on History Viking Presentation. This is happening at the Higgins Armory, which is a castle-like building with a ton of medeival and renaissance armor and weaponry. Jun 21. Higgins Armory, 100 Barber Ave. Worcester, MA. 508-853-6015.

Further afield, the Vermont History Expo, June 21-22, seems really creative. They have a Civil War re-enactment, a “world’s fair”, tons of museum and historical society performances and exhibits. Fun things like trying out some archaeology and a parade.

I’ve never been to this one but would love to see it. Yirrell Beach in Winthrop is directly in front of Logan Airport and you can see the airplanes take off and land. It’s nice at dawn or sunset, but their big event of the year is here. It’s the Sandcastle Festival, Jun 21, at Yirrell Beach, Shirley Street, Winthrop, MA. 617-846-8243. 10am-3pm. Contest fee is $10, music, food, games like hula hoop and bubble gum contest. Also a mile swim competition for adults 16+, $20.

Every summer, various group project outdoor movies. They’re usually free and a great community event. It’s always a good idea to call to confirm the event if rain threatens. First up are:

— Acton, MA. Outdoor Movie Night at NARA Park. It starts Friday Jun 13 at dusk. Helpfully, they fail to define dusk and fail to say what film is playing.

— Boston, MA. WBZ Free Friday Flicks at the Hatch Shell. Jun 20 is “The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep”. It’s on the Esplanade in Boston, MA. 617-787-7200.

Also an atypical and fun film event! The Harvard Museum of Natural History often runs off-beat science-y films, and the next one is the Boston Film Premiere of “Abandoned in the Arctic”. It’s a three-year journey of starvation, mutiny, and cannibalism exploring the arctic. Jun 19. Harvard’s Science Center, Hall B, One Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA.

The start of summer is marked by the solstice, the longest day of the year. It’s essentially arbitrary but it’s a fun excuse to party, especially if you’re a druid. Here are four:

— Summer Solstice Event, Jun 20 at the Somerville Growing Center, 22 Vinal Ave, Somerville, MA. 781-367-1277. Begins at 4pm. Potluck. Dance barefoot. Silk painting. Adult ritual follows kids ritual. Fruity level: very.

— Summer Revels, Jun 20-22. Boston, MA. 617-972-8300. There’s an art celebration at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Jun 20, 6-9pm. Then giant puppets and street performers June 21-22 by the Boston Children’s Museum. Fruity level: not too overwhelming.

— Summer Solstice by Candlelight, Jun 20. Make some candle lanters and go for a walk in the woods. Fruity level: safe. Free, but they want you to pre-register. Copicut Woods, in Fall River, MA.

— Summer Solstice Soirée. Jun 21. Safe, sun-viewing telescopes and energy demonstrations. Coolidge Reservation at Manchester-By-The-Sea, MA. Fruity level: safe. They also have the Singing Beach nearby.

Apparently on the Chinese calendar it’s still Spring. The Chinatown Main Street Spring Festival is Jun 22. Boston, MA. 617-350-6303. Throughout Chinatown. Free. 11am-4:30pm. I’ve seen it and they have such good dance performances! It’s really a treat.

A strange combination of French and Japanese is yours for the having at “Soirée Karaoké”, a night of karaoke songs at the French Library in Boston. Jun 19.

Every year there’s a “dance camp” in Plymouth. The FAC Pinewoods Weekend and FolkDays is Jun 19-26. Not sure where it is on the fruity scale. It sounds really nice, actually. Pinewoods Camp, Plymouth, MA.

Here are a two “local” garden events. These are small time events that everyone’s surprised when you show up from out of town. I often enjoy these as a chance to meet the locals and experience their enthusiasm.

— The Somerville Garden Tour is Jun 21.

— Then, the Secret Gardens of Cambridge is another tour, Jun 22.

There are regular “drum circles” run by the Drum Connection in Arlington. Basically you show up, bring a drum or they provide one, and you bang away. Jun 21. Boston Metro. 50 Tufts Street. Arlington, MA.

The Big Fat Greek Festival sounds small timey but it’s being held in the rather large Tsongas Arena in Lowell, MA. Jun 20-22. It’s possibly the largest Greek festival of the year in New England.

The Capitol Steps are a singing group that parody current events, especially politics. You’ve heard them on NPR. They peform Jun 21 at the Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston.

Sometimes I just go places for the chance to see someplace new. There are so many public parks in New England that I keep finding ones I’ve never heard of before. One such is Bird Park in Walpole, MA. They’re having an Ice Cream Social, Jun 21.

It’s always smart to find two or three things in the area when you’re checking out a tiny event like that. So while you’re there, check out Sommerfest, which is the summer version of the German Oktoberfest. Ethnic food and polka music. Jun 21-22. Also in Walpole, MA.

I haven’t seen this one but I’ve been to other native american events and feel it’s worth a shot. The Native American Pow-Wow and Prowse Farm Tour is Jun 21-22. 10am-5pm. It’s next to the Blue Hills which is a great place to go hiking. 5 Blue Hill River Road, Canton, MA.

I don’t know whose idea it was to have a film festival during the summer, but the Nantucket Film Festival may just get you to try out Nantucket Island. It’s Jun 19-22. Hey, William H. Macy will be there. Mainly it seems to be all film and few lectures, though.

Similarly the George’s Island Kite Day is mainly an excuse to get you to try out the Boston Harbor Islands. The first is Jun 22 and they run regularly through Aug 31. Boston Harbor Islands. Boston, MA. 617-223-8666. Kite experts give lessons on kite-flying, fre material to build kites.

The mayor’s wife is holding a Rose Garden Party on June 19, from 5:30-8pm. It looks like it may be a benefit for the MFA, which means it’s probably pricey.

Also a benefit, but less ritzy, is the Taste of Cambridge, a restaurant festival. Jun 19. Technology Square, Cambridge, MA. 5:30-8:30pm. It’s great that it benefits a homeless shelter, but if I’m paying $60, frankly, I want it to be all-you-can-eat. MITAC discount. Buy tix in advance for discount.

If I had to go to a food benefit, I think I’d prefer “A Wild Affair” at the Stone Zoo, the sister zoo of the Franklin Park Zoo. Jun 21. Live animals and live music. 5:30-9:30pm.

I really have no idea why you’d attend the 106 WCOD Cape Cod Chowderfest, but it’s a festival, and I’m listing it. Basically it works like this. You show up. Several restaurants attend with chowder. You eat some. Jun 22. Cape Cod. Cape Cod Melody Tent.

Jay Leno performs Jun 21 at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, MA.

Continuing events:

— Master Sand Sculpting Competition at Hampton Beach, NH, to Jun 27,

— Phantom Gourmet BBQ Beach Party, Jun 18-22. City Hall Plaza,

— Provincetown International Film Festival, Jun 18-22.

I hear something involving basketball is happening this week, but I’m not sure what. I hear it involves the Irish or something.

I went to Storytelling for Grownups at the Bestsellers Cafe in Medford, only to discover that the cafe has closed for repairs. 🙁

We are looking for just one more roommate. $500. 2 minute walk to Porter Square, Cambridge. Ask for picsand info.